Three does with distended bellies

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Idahoe, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. Idahoe

    Idahoe Menagerie More~on

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    I noticed my three FF does with kids had tight abdomens this morning, but my two milkers did not. Huh? Notice I'm not using the "b" word . . .

    This evening, I read about the "b" word, causes and treatment. First, all does have EXACTLY the same diet; an organic grain/mineral concentrate the prev owner fed them, grass hay and alfalfa pellets. The milking does get perhaps another pound of grain than the nursing does, who have 3 month kids who nurse very little. I've owned them since 6/28/06.

    So these three gals look like they swallowed giant footballs. It was subtle this morning, but no missing it tonight. Abdomen is tight, but I hear borborygmies and all three burped a few times when I observed them. They are active, and when out of the pen, headed for the grain can as if starving to death (in other words, NORMAL).

    There is no chance they got into the grain, it is outside the pen. THey've been in the pen now without coming out to browse for several days as we have construction going on. The only difference in their diet is perhaps the quality and/or types of grasses in their hay, and they get alfalfa pellets instead of alfalfa hay. The hay was cut, cured and baled well over a week ago, and is green but well cured, looks like mostly timothy, a little clover, stray wheat stalks, a typical local pasture mix.

    So they aren't acting ill or in pain at all. They distention appears symmetrical, not pronounced over the rumen or bulging below the ribs. I know bloat can cause death quickly, so I made up gatorade and baking soda and one girl slurped hers down, and the other two I had to force a few ounces into. Mind you these are not particularly tame does! I'd just started handling them more intensely today too, being in the stanchion, having their udders touched, etc.

    Today, they got perhaps a half pound extra grain concentrate than usual during the handling. I could swear on my life they didn't get into anything, and they long ago mowed the wild roses and ferns in their pen. There are cedar, ponderosa pine and firs in their pen, and they chew the bark and nibble the branches. All girls have exactly the same environment all day every day, and the two milkers w/o kids have no distention.

    Well, there is one difference; the milking does are the queen and the very bottom doe, are fed separately from the herd due to pigginess in the top girl and the bottom one getting pushed away and getting nothing. They eat their evening grain outside the pen. The three does with big bellies still butt each other a bit, but unless I tie them up separately (which I am seriously considering until the feeding station is built) they have to share two large communal trays, three does and five kids.

    It's been dry and hot, no rain for over a week, typical for this area. I purchased them from a guy who lives ten miles away.

    I'll check them a couple of times before I go to bed, and around 5:30 am when the goslings wake me up, so for now I'm posting this in case there really is something wrong with them and I have a head start.
     
  2. lgslgs

    lgslgs Well-Known Member

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    Ours feed on wild browse only.

    They start the day looking like normal goats and end the day looking like beach balls with legs. The next morning they are back to normal size and do it again.

    In the late afternoon, they have a favorite dust pit they like to lay in. It is quite alarming when they lay on their sides and their HUGE rumens make them look totally bloated. But they are happy, stuffed goats full of leaves and twigs and they just smile, belch up some cud, and chew thoughtfully as they process the food they collected earlier in the day.

    Each year we swear that it is impossible for them to get any bigger, and so far Big Sandy (our champion eater) has proven us wrong each year. We were shocked when she used to finish the days looking like she swallowed a basket ball. The normal sized goat head on the end of the day baech ball body is quite a sight.

    We don't worry about over feeding because we have 8 goats and a cow harvesting their own food from 15 acres of thick growth. We only feed the whole lot of them a single cup of grain to share each night (as a reward for going back into their night pen) and we went through 6 square bales of hay in the past year. Since all of the food they eat is food that they have to go out and harvest themselves, we figure their weight is self limiting.

    As it is, except for the humongo rumens, they don't have a bit of fat on them. Lots of muscle from bringing down saplings and hauling those giant rumens around, though!

    If I were you, I wouldn't rush into assuming you are seeing bloat if they are happy, energetic in the morning, relaxed during cud chewing time, and making happy digestion grunts - even if they do like like barrels with sticks for legs. Keep an eye on the nanny berries since they've had a diet change and if they look perfect they should be OK. My personal preference is to be very cautious about bulking up diets with grain, and I'd keep them in hay or cut down a tree or two for them - but like I said, that's just my opinion. We think of grain as "fast food" and use it only for treats.

    Lynda
     

  3. Idahoe

    Idahoe Menagerie More~on

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    Thanks, Lynda. This am, they were much smaller, still acting normal, and the three of them (all very, very shy) came right up to me and let me scratch their cheeks. I did not give them half their grain ration just in case, as I hadn't checked in here.

    While confined and unable to browse, they eat about a square bale of hay per day. All "berries" look like perfect milk duds. So what I was seeing was likely contentedly large rumens full of hay. Yay!

    I am so looking forward to the end of construction so they can go out and browse. Whew, I guess I know animals that act normal and hungry, chew cud vigorously are probably not ill, but these are my goats! Can't mess around there.